Unified Pay Update 18 October 2016

Unison strike NLBP 02 web ready

Unified Pay Update 18 October 2016

To: All Barnet UNISON members employed directly by Barnet Council (including schools) only.

Contact details: Members can contact the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Collective issues

For example where there are number of workers with the same job description all raising the same issue for example Nursery Nurses, TA’s on 52 week contracts, Coach Escorts. Meal Time Supervisors.

Individual issues.

There can be a myriad of issues, which is why it is important that UNISON members with any concerns make urgent contact with the UNISON office

There are two groups of workers Barnet UNISON is currently supporting.

  1. Council corporate workforce (not schools)

Below is a brief overview of the collective issues in the various Service Delivery Units. Please note I have weekly meetings with HR for the all the service delivery units to discuss collective and individual issues.

Street Scene

Coach Escorts: Later this week I am attending a meeting with management and the coach escorts to discuss a proposal to address their concerns.

Commercial Vehicle Technicians: – I am advised the Council is close to having a proposals to share with the staff and trade unions.

Waste & Recycling drivers: This has been resolved.


There are a number of individual appeals/issues and stage 1 meetings are now being arranged.

Two local agreements covering Weekend Working and Practice Teaching payments have been signed off


DLO: HR have advised letters with an interim offer are due to be sent out shortly. After which a meeting will be held for all staff at which UNISON will be present.

Discussions with HR started last week, some of the cases will go to Stage 2 Appeal and some will be going for a fresh evaluation.

Family Services

Duty Support Officer: I have met with members and I will be having detailed discussions with HR in my weekly meeting on Monday 24 October.

Personal Advisor: I have been advised a new job description is being produced.

The Library service submitted a local agreement for Sunday working payments, and it has been signed off.

  1. Council school staff (does not include Faith, Voluntary Aided schools and Academies)

The UNISON school team is now available to support members. Louis Smyth on Mondays & Tuesdays, and Nadia Joseph on Fridays during Term Time.

The following posts are subject to collective appeals with initial discussions due to start with the Council:

  • Nursery Nurses (retainer issue)
  • Teaching Assistants (52 week contract issue)
  • Meal Time Supervisors

Individual issues.

Once I have met with HR covering schools I wil be in touch with the UNISON members that submitted their appeals.

Do I need to sign or not sign my new contract?

Barnet Council has already issued all its corporate staff (not schools) with new contracts following the Unified Pay agreement.

The letter accompanying the contract asks staff to sign the new contract detailing the new Terms & Conditions.

Whilst the majority of workers will have no concerns about signing the new contract there are some who will want to seek advice before signing. For example any worker who is querying their new grade or the content of the Terms & Conditions.

I have spoken to the Council and no worker will be told they have to sign the contract immediately.

Please make sure you keep a copy of your contract in a safe place.

If you are in doubt ring the UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk in order we can provide some advice.

If anyone feels they are being forced into signing the contract please make urgent contact with the UNISON office.

**** SCHOOLS STAFF. At some point Barnet Council issue new contracts to all their school staff, when the branch is notified we will alert our members to the above advice.

Health and Safety – Barnet UNISON sheds a light

Health & Safety

Health & Safety

Colleagues at Barnet House will be amused to read the conclusion of the Health and Safety Report into the confused evacuation process at Barnet House on 27th September – that it’s all the fault of staff not obeying the fire wardens. Never mind that a number of staff members experienced being given conflicting messages (not necessarily from fire wardens). Of course if a fire warden instructs colleagues to leave the building then this is what we must do, but do we detect a culture of managerial abdication in the face of Health and Safety concerns?

According to another Health and Safety enquiry into the fact that of a lot of workers at the depot, and their lorries and trucks, were plunged into darkness due to building works there cutting the electricity supply, this should have been brought to the attention of management. UNISON believed that given management was standing in the same darkness (literally, not metaphorically) as our members and not doing anything about it, or being unable to state what was being done when challenged, then it was a matter which needed escalating. We did and in less than 48 hours light was brought to the depot. It was an urgent matter and needed urgent rectification. It is alleged that UNISON’s actions delayed the rectification of this matter. We refute this strongly and have evidence of a host of other Health and Safety matters which have invariably been denied and then, when admitted, take months to resolve and in some cases aren’t even unsatisfactorily resolved.

The culture does indeed need to change but with whom?

We are calling on members to help us monitor the issues by becoming a Health and Safety representative.

You will be given full training and there is much that needs doing in this area.

To find out more email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk or ring 0208 3592088

“Unsafe & Unsustainable” – Mental Health Service proposals

At the end of consultation UNISON has submitted a report on behalf of our members which recommends the following:

  1. Reverse the proposed deletion of social work posts.
  2. Reverse the proposed deletion of Principle Practitioner posts.
  3. Enter into urgent negotiations with Trade Unions to address the recruitment & retention crisis for Approved Mental Health Practitioners (AMPH).
  4. Any decision to restructure Mental Health Services must be submitted to General Functions Committee.

A copy of the full report will be sent to our members in Mental Health. Interestingly the restructure also repeats a pattern in the rest of Adults and Communities which is to delete Social Worker roles in favour of radically increasing the numbers of Assessment and Enablement Officers to do the same work but for less pay! We think this is highly risky.

You can read the full report here 2016-10-12-unison-response





UNISON: “Stop wasting time on Outsourcing – work with staff and unions”



Barnet UNISON have submitted our report to Barnet Council Environmental Committee which is meeting on Thursday 28 September to discuss outsourcing options for Street Scene Services.

One of the biggest risks is not classified as a risk, but a dependency (p37, IOBC). This is very surprising since the ADM “…is operationally dependent on the relocation of the depot facilities. Any delay, or unforeseen amendment, to the depot relocation will not only have a subsequent impact on day-to-day service delivery operations (‘business as usual’) but could also impact the delivery of the ADM.” (Barnet UNISON report 2016)

Our report makes the following recommendations

  1. The Barnet Group option is not an in-house option. Two of the options involve The Barnet Group, but in practice there is only one option as the In-house (pre December 2015) option is not sustainable. Furthermore, there is a direct conflict of interest, no ethical wall is in place and both options could not proceed to a procurement process.
  2. One of the biggest risks is not classified as a risk, but a dependency (p37, IOBC). This is very surprising since the ADM “…is operationally dependent on the relocation of the depot facilities. Any delay, or unforeseen amendment, to the depot relocation will not only have a subsequent impact on day-to-day service delivery operations (‘business as usual’) but could also impact the delivery of the ADM.”
  3. The ADM should be stopped and resources redirected to recruiting the required senior management and embarking on transformation strategy to deliver innovative and improved in-house services and meet financial targets.
  4. The Council should recruit new senior management for the Street Scene Delivery Unit to implement the transformation programme as a matter or urgency.
  5. A forward-looking in-house plan should be prepared, focused on innovation and improvement with in-house management.
  6. Staff and trade unions should be fully engaged in the design, planning and implementation of the transformation programme.
  7. The planned public consultation should be delayed and revised to engage service users, community organisations, businesses and civil society organisations in Barnet in contributing to and implementing the transformation programme.
  8. We recommend the main and sub-criteria are substantially revised for the next stage of the IOBC process.
  9. Complete the Employee Equality Impact Analysis as soon as possible so that a full impact assessment can be carried out of the potential effects on staff.
  10. The Council should not divide Street Scene services into ‘lots’ for contracting (learning the lessons from the May Gurney recycling contract), but concentrate on increased coordination and integration of services.

To view full report click link barnet-unison-street-scene


BREAKING NEWS: 100% vote to end Term Time Pay in Schools


BREAKING NEWS: 100% of Barnet UNISON members working in Barnet Schools voted YES in a Poll to “End to Term-Time Pay in Schools”

The issue of Term Time Pay has reached the attention of national media in recent weeks as a result of a number of disputes of Teaching Assistants in Derby and Durham.

Last week “UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis left the TUC conference in Brighton to join the teaching assistants on Parliament Square.

He told them that all of UNISON’s 1.3 million members were behind them and said “these cuts are happening because of the cruel squeeze on finances from Westminster, as the government continues its austerity fuelled war on public services.”

He also said that how they have been treated by their council is a disgrace.” https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2016/09/derby-lobby/

The above report was addressed to the striking Derby Teaching Assistants who came down to the House of Commons to highlight the brutal impact of the 25% pay cut by their employer Derby City Council.

In Durham, Teaching Assistants are facing a 23% pay cut and whilst they are currently being balloted on an offer, the grassroots feedback is that it will be rejected.

The two disputes Derby & Durham have raised the profile for the launch of a wider campaign that has been needed for more than a decade.

In Barnet, UNISON are well aware of the dedication,  hard work and unpaid hours that our members deliver to provide high quality education for children. In particular our members have played a critical role in delivering the inclusion agenda in schools which is something we should all be proud of.

The imposition of Term-Time Pay (TTP) openly discriminates against low paid female workers.

For those unfamiliar with TTP, it is not applicable to Teachers. Teachers are covered by a national agreement and whilst they do work term time only they are paid as full time employees.

However, in the case of the rest of staff working in schools they are not treated a full time employees hence TTP.

In Derby and Durham the teaching assistant are clearly not prepared to lose 25% without a fight.

Barnet UNISON members have confirmed through our Poll that they support the proposal that all staff working in a school should be treated equally with teachers as full time employees.

Recent developments:

In June 2016 at UNISON conference: “UNISON is to campaign for school workers across the UK to be employed during every week of the year, local government delegates in Brighton declared this afternoon.”


In July 2016 at the Durham Miners Gala Jeremy Corbyn gave an electrifying speech and took the opportunity in his speech to issue a message of solidarity for the Durham Teaching Assistants. “Get it sorted!” listen here https://youtu.be/wd8yZLcIFCs

In August 2016 Jeremy Corbyn issued a much more substantial message

“The government must fund teaching assistants every week of the year”


John Burgess, Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary said: “Now that Jeremy has been re-elected Leader of the Labour Party, now is the time to support the UNISON statement made at conference to “campaign for school workers across the UK to be employed during every week of the year.” We are asking all of our members, their family and friends to sign Petition to Prime Minister Theresa May to end Term Time Pay in Schools https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-end-term-time-pay-in-schools . We all agree in UNISON that Term Time Pay is discriminatory. Time for talking is over. Time for action is now. Solidarity.”


Message to Barnet UNISON Library workers – John Burgess

recruiting on a picket line

recruiting on a picket line

To Barnet UNISON Library workers

I wanted to provide you with an update following a meeting with management on Monday 12th September 2016.

Firstly I requested an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive so I can raise my concerns about the proposals and present again another option that negates the need to implement this destruction of the Barnet Library service.  I am due to meet him on Monday 26 September at 10 am. I will report back on this meeting later that week.

I have also requested an urgent meeting with the Leader of the Council. I believe that the proposed destruction of the Library Service is unnecessary and can be avoided.

In our union meeting last week I mentioned that I had seen the agency/consultancy paid by Barnet Council. Below is the agency/consultancy spend for the past four years and at a time when the size of the council workforce is shrinking year on year with outsourcing and redundancies.

  • 2012/13 £12,526,943
  • 2013/14 £13,775,546
  • 2014/15 £15,538,090
  • 2015/16 £17,907,052

In 2015/16 the agency spend increased to £17,907,052

In the first quarter of this financial year the Council has already paid out £6.9 million which, if it continues could see the Council break £20 million on agency/consultants.

In my view the Councils agency/consultancy costs are out of control and as you can all see it is increasing year on year.

The contractors providing agency workers and consultants will charge a commission to the Council. Looking at the figures over the last four years the commission paid to contractors would easily pay the Library savings.

The Council may respond that they are able to stop this escalation and are putting in systems and controls on spend. Well I’m afraid they said that before. Last autumn a resident John Dix asked a question about agency spend and he was told “agency levels should fall by 15% by the end of 2015/16.” (read full response here)

As you can see the spend for 2015/16 was £17,907,052

My offer on the negotiating table is quite simple.

Drop the current proposal and work with staff, residents on building and developing all of the Libraries in Barnet including plans to develop further in response to the rapid growth in the local population.

The savings required by the Library service will be generated by tackling the out of control agency/consultancy spend.

Last week two messages of support were given by Jeremy Corbyn

You can view the message from Jeremy here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2016/09/20/jeremy-corbyn-backs-barnet-unison-library-workers/

and John here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/2016/09/20/john-mcdonnell-backs-barnet-unison-library-workers/

Strike action

Hugh Jordan will be back week commencing 26 September and a message will be going out in relation to the next strike action we discussed last week in the event the Council continue with their planned destruction.

Barnet UNISON Petition for Library workers

Please sign, get family and friends to sign


5th November demo

Be ready to join this national demonstration you can leave comments on facebook link here https://www.facebook.com/events/282708008768589/

Links to Library destruction

‘It is not a transformation, it is a destruction’ – Barnet’s UNISON branch call to save library jobs


A Library without staff what could possibly go wrong?


Austerity for whom – in Barnet Council?


Barnet UNISON: Further Response to the Library Restructure Staff Consultation


Social Media

You can follow @Barnet_Unison on Twitter

Barnet UNISON Face Book here https://www.facebook.com/BarnetUNISON/


John Burgess

Branch Secretary




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